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Lifeboat ethics - Essay Example

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In the article, Garrett Hardin illustrate that environmentalists see the Earth as a “space ship” when convincing people, industries or countries…
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Lifeboat ethics
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Download file to see previous pages This can lead to confusing spaceship ethics with the life boat idea.
On the Spaceship Earth, nations can be divided into two categories rich nations – the most powerful- and poor nations. Two thirds of the Earth’s population lives in poor nations, only a third lives in rich nations. The United States is the wealthiest nation on Earth. Everyone sees the rich nations as lifeboats. The rich one third represents the lifeboats; and the two thirds are trying to get to one of these lifeboats. In order to get in any lifeboat we first have to realize its capacity. The lifeboat has a capacity, which limits how many people can get into it. In addition, we cannot exceed the capacity; if we exceed capacity then we will lose our safety factor and everyone therein will drown. The cruel ethics of the lifeboat becomes crueler, when we take into consideration the reproductive differences between the rich and poor nations. Rich nations are doubling every 87 years, while the poor nations double almost every 35 years. Hardin gives an example that shows the population of the United States equal to another population made of seven poor countries. Suppose that the U.S currently agrees to share its recourses with them. At first the ratio would be one-to-one, but in the future the poor countries’ populations are going to double faster than the United States’ population, then each American would have to share what he/she has with more than eight people. Consequently, a nation’s needs are determined by their population size.
Another important point Hardin argues about in his article is the tragedy of commons. When properties become public, everyone would have the right to use it. Thereafter, everyone would suffer because of overloading the commons. Otherwise, everyone would say his/her needs are greater. Overloading of the commons results into destruction of the facilities and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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